About Us

Posted By Kerri

When we first started writing Dinner Diary, we posted under the names of Fred and Ginger. When we started, it was really just for the two of us and it took a little while before we went public. We wanted somewhere to store our recipes and at the same time, we both began reading more and more food blogs. The idea of being able to look back in years to come at what we were eating appealed to both of us too.

We kept those pseudonyms for a little over a year but as we started to meet other food bloggers, it seemed silly to have to keep explaining ourselves so we eventually came out. We are Stephen and Kerri, we live in South West London and we like food.

Writing about food encourages us to be creative and try new things. In addition to providing us with an online recipe book, the blog is also a great inspiration when we’re stuck and don’t know what to cook. I can’t deny that building a collection of interesting crockery so that the pictures look different isn’t fun either!

Our philosophy is slightly different to most food bloggers in that we post almost everything that we cook, even if we’ve had it a hundred times before or if it doesn’t turn out well. Although we eat a variety of different dishes we do of course have our favourites which means some dishes are featured quite frequently, (roast chicken anyone?) and probably aren’t all that interesting as stand-alone posts. If we’re cooking something for the first time (which we still do pretty often) then we’ll usually include a recipe or at least a description of how we cooked it.

We use a Canon Eos 350D to take the pictures. To start with, we didn’t use any lighting, but we now use a Lowel Ego “digital imaging light”, particularly in the winter when it gets dark so much earlier. The light is fairly lightweight and can easily be popped onto the table for a picture and then packed away quickly so that we can get on and eat our dinner before it gets cold!

We experimented with a tripod too and while we initially thought it would be restrictive we got used to it quite quickly. We seem to have stopped using it so much recently but now the dark nights are upon us again, I expect it will make a re-appearance.

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Aug 19th, 2007

31 Comments to 'About Us'

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  1. Lee said,

    Hi,

    I’ve just had a look through your dinner diary and I have to say that you guys are doing a great job. The photos are very professional and yes, the crockery really adds something. Actually, I’ve been doing a similar thing for about 10 weeks now but only on Facebook. Let’s just say it’s in the beginning stages but then again, so is my cooking! Just wondering if you wouldn’t mind telling me what kind of camera you use and do you ever set up lighting?

    Keep up the great work.

    Regards,

    Lee

  2. Stephen said,

    Hi Lee,

    Thanks for your kind comments :-)

    We use a Canon Eos 350D to take the pictures. We don’t set up any lighting or use a flash; we just use either the daylight or our normal kitchen lighting, depending on how bright it is.

    When the light is low, we use a 50mm fixed lens with an f-stop of 1.8, which is good for low light, but does mean that a lot of the pictures look similar. When the lighting is better, which is usually in the summer when the sun is still out, we’ll use a slower zoom lens to get some different perspectives.

    We should invest in a tripod really, which will make some of it a bit easier as we can use longer exposure times when the light is low. And maybe some not-too-expensive flash accessories. But too much playing around with all of that will mean that our dinner will get cold before we get to eat it, so it needs to be fairly simple!

    Hmm I think I’ll put some of this up in the introduction above :)

  3. Pixie said,

    Hi, I just wanted to say your food blog is the very first food blog I came across, prior to starting my very own. It’s still one of my favourites too! :) Huge thanks for adding me to your food blog links.

  4. Kerri said,

    Wow, thanks Pixie :)

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog too, it’s great when something new and interesting pops up.

    Thanks for adding us too.

    G

  5. Rebecca said,

    Hi

    I really like your website.
    I bought two lovely fresh whole trout today and was wondering whether to roast them uncovered or bake them in foil, so I did an internet search and found your recipe for roast trout with roasted vegs.
    I like the roast veg idea – it looks very Mediterranean (yes I know it’s not summer, but I could do with some sunshine on a plate today!) and I happen to have some red and yellow peppers, red onion (and white wine) already.
    I love cooking – I’ve found books by Delia Smith and Nigel Slater to be my favourites, and your recipes are simple good food of a similar style.
    Thanks for the inspiration

    Rebecca

  6. Kerri said,

    Thanks so much Rebecca :) It’s really nice to get comments from new people and I particularly enjoy hearing about how people have found us.

    I think you’re right about the sunshine, we’re relying on stodgy comfort food a lot at the moment but you make a good point about other ways to warm yourself up!

    I’m a big fan of both Delia and Nigel. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve never known a Delia recipe to let me down yet which is so useful when you’re trying something new or cooking for others. I don’t cook a lot from Nigel’s books but I enjoy his writing style. I haven’t got his new book yet, have you?

    Come back soon, it’d be good to hear how the trout turned out and what else you’ve been up to in the kitchen :)

    G

  7. Sarah said,

    Hi

    I’ve just discovered your website and am in seventh heaven! I am naturally nosey (always checking out people’s baskets in the supermarket) and love reading recipe books, so this is the perfect option for me! I also feel inspired to cook several of your recipes – especially the lamb stuffed with couscous.

    Sarah

  8. Kerri said,

    That’s great Sarah, thank you. I used to work in a supermarket and never tired of observing other people’s shopping habits!

    Let us know how the lamb works out if you get round to making it.

    G

  9. Rob said,

    I like the site, lovely pictures and good text to accompany them!

    Have three questions!

    1) How do you find the time/willpower to cook a meal fresh every night? Sometimes I just want to stick some fish fingers under the grill and sit on the sofa and wait for them to cook!

    2) How do you not end up having the same meals every week? OH and myself enjoy cooking but when it comes to going to the supermarket on Saturdays we end up buying the same kind of food each time. I am astounded that for Jan and Feb you didn’t cook the same meal twice – do you spend every free hour browsing for recipes?

    3) Where do you keep all that crockery? Evidently we need a bigger flat :)

    Keep up the good work.

  10. Kerri said,

    Welcome Rob and thank you for your kind comments :)

    1) I’m lucky enough to live very close to where I work which means that most days I’m home by 6pm, I usually start preparing dinner shortly after I get home and then Stephen either assists or takes over when he arrives home.

    We both enjoy cooking together and find it relaxing so neither of us see it as a chore, having a blog helps too as I hate to see the same picture at the top of the page for too long.

    We’ll often batch cook meals at the weekend and freeze those so if we don’t feel like cooking when we get home we can find something from the freezer.

    I’m a big fan of the fish finger and they have made an appearance on Dinner Diary but I tend to eat them for lunch at the weekends so they don’t always feature :)

    2) There are quite a few meals or variations of old favourites that appear regularly: Thai curry/stir-fry and roast chicken being two that spring to mind. I read cookery books like novels and there are also a number of food blogs that I read daily that provide continual inspiration. Neither of us spend every free hour browsing for recipes but you’re not far off!

    3) We’ve actually imposed a ban on the purchase of any new crockery as we’re now completely overloaded. A lot of it is boxed up and in storage and just our favourite pieces are left out. We have a number of mis-matched plates and dishes that we’ve collected over the years so not everything you see is part of a set, a bigger kitchen would be wonderful though.

  11. Kathryn said,

    Hi, love the site….especially the pics

    I want to take pics for my own food portfolio (I do catering + cookery school) but have never done anything like that before. what tips would you offer a novice? I just took some pics with a very basic camera…….they are terrible!

    Have been checking out the Canon’s on ebay :o)

    Kathryn

  12. Kerri said,

    Thanks Kathryn.

    A good camera certainly makes a difference but we’ve found lighting to be key, especially during the winter months. Artificial lighting can be expensive though so perhaps limit yourself to taking pictures in good, natural light.

    Practice is obviously key, it can be difficult with food because it gets cold quickly and doesn’t always benefit from sitting around for too long. I’d recommend practising with a cold dish so you’re not worried about getting a good shot quickly. Setting the shot up in advance is a really good idea too, you can then just bring in the plate at the right time.

    We’ve started using a tripod lately which is great because you can set the camera to a lower ISO which results in clearer pictures. I do find it a bit restrictive though and prefer to use the camera without so you can play with the angles. If you don’t have a tripod then try resting the camera on something stable and using the timer setting can work well.

    Also might be worth looking in recipe books and at other food blogs to get an idea of different styles so you can develop your own style. I like close up shots of food with just a little table or plate showing and I prefer to shoot low down rather than from above but that’s just my preference.

    Some things are seemingly impossible to photograph (beef casserole and chilli con carne are good examples!) but you can make these look interesting if you get the composition right. Interesting plates, tablecloths and backgrounds help in these instances! Something easier to begin with may help you to become more confident, fruit or vegetables perhaps?

    Good luck!

  13. candyce said,

    Hi there,
    I have now spent the past 30mins going through every page of your blog – so lovely! Your pics are so good, but the recipes are to die for! I love the British comfort food recipes. :)
    Thanks! I’m a fan!

  14. Kathryn said,

    Hi Kerri,

    Oh no that means I will have to buy some funky new dishes.

    Thank you for all the advice. Time to practise!

    I will keep ckecking out your site. I love your header pic…..yuuuummmm

    Kathryn

  15. Kerri said,

    Thanks Candyce, it’s great to see new followers.

    Hope the practicing goes well Kathryn, same goes for the shopping!

  16. Neil said,

    Well hello Stephen & Kerri,

    Thought something had changed around here and the lamb post reveals all. I’ll be checking back often as per usual, you both seem far too organised at this blogging malarky!

  17. Kathryn said,

    Hey Kerri,

    Thanks for the tips, the camera is now in operation and just got my blog live tonight. Check it out relishiom.blogspot.com
    I’m quickly getting stuff for my portfolio and work website…yaay!

    Still got to work on my lighting tho, your pics look slick

    Kathryn

  18. Dawn Weston said,

    Hi, I found your website while searching for Pork Hock recipes. I bought what I thought was a ham hock from Waitrose, stuck it in the freezer, left it to defrost overnight and realised what it was this morning. I assumed I could slow cook it, so now the smell of meat and veg simmering in the oven is wafting through the house, roll on Autmn for more days to enjoy this sort of food.I look forward to searching the site for lots more recipes and ideas. Thanks

  19. Kerri said,

    Glad we could be of assistance, Dawn! I remember being terribly confused by pork and ham hock. Hope it works out well.

  20. Dawn Weston said,

    Hi Kerri, Hugh FW is missing out! Pork was melt in the mouth soft and full of flavour, cooked simply with onions,carrots, water, salt and peppercorns. Proves that simple is often best.

  21. steve said,

    Hi,
    I have been a follower of your site for a long while now. It has been veryhelpful in my quest to learn more about my cooking.
    Although our tastes and idea’s are poles apart (not that I think mine are any better) I have “nicked” the odd section of a recipe or idea from you here and there, and I think you would agree, thats what we all do!
    You have been steadfast and commited in bringing your ideas and sharing them with all who have a common interest…Food! And have been generous enough to share them with all of us… long may you continue
    Best regards
    Steve

  22. Lilly said,

    Hi

    Just want to say I love the blog. I have just made the beef rendang for my sister and it tastes great! thanks very much, I will be back!

    Lilly

  23. Kerri said,

    Thanks, Lilly! I’m glad you liked the rendang, I must try that again soon.

  24. Catherine Moran said,

    Hi Kerri and Stephen,

    A member of the UK Food Bloggers’ Association thinks you may be using the Thesis theme for your blog. I’m considering buying it and am wondering if you’d recommend it.

    Whatever theme you are using, your blog looks sumptuous!

    Many thanks in advance for your opinion.

    Catherine

  25. Kerri said,

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you!

    We don’t use Thesis but we do use WordPress. I can’t remember what this theme is called actually, we’ve had it for ages and have basically just hacked the source code to make it do what we want to do.

  26. Stephen said,

    Catherine, it is p-mode. Or it was before we changed it radically. This is it – doesn’t look much like it used to: http://www.paggu.com/free-wordpress-themes/pmode-2-column-fixed-width-wordpress-theme/

  27. Catherine Moran said,

    Kerri and Stephen,

    You have hacked it very well. Thank you very much for the info. I’m going to take the plunge and go for Thesis.

    Best regards,

    Catherine

  28. SeaSoldier said,

    Stumbled across your blog by accident whilst looking for a ham hock recipe. Fantastic job guys, it’s great to read real recipes from real people! Long may it continue!

  29. Nifeislife said,

    Hi Stephen and Kerri !We want to arrange a food and wine tasting session for you at Nifeislife.
    Please let us know if that’ll be alright with you.Thanks!

  30. Maitha said,

    Hi there, I wanted to invite you to an event and wondered if you could please email me the best email address for you? Thanks!

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